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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Board stays foxy about new name

The Fox Theater. It has a pleasant ring to it.

In the next couple of months, the theater may have a longer name. A private donor has paid $3 million for the naming rights of the art deco jewel built 76 years ago in downtown Spokane.

In fact, just about every distinguishing room and feature of the theater will have a sponsor. The nature-themed Ladies Lounge? Reserved for $50,000. What about the balcony & loge? Gone for $1 million. How about signature sunburst in the auditorium? Sponsored for $200,000.

There’s still plenty left for those itching to pin their moniker on The Fox.

In all, there are 39 naming opportunities for donors, including three for $1 million each and two more for a half-million dollars.

Consider the novelty of sponsoring the mechanical room for $100,000, or an orchestra dressing room for $125,000. Maybe the lobby bar? Oops. Too late. Someone already plunked down $100,000 for those rights.

It’s part of a money-raising effort to reopen The Fox by November and honor the generosity of people and corporations.

For the board, it’s serious business.

During a recent tour, board treasurer David Green leaned in close to a reporter seeking a scoop on the Fox’s new name. “It’s on a need-to-know basis,” he said, “and I don’t think you need to know.”

He did toss out one scrap of information: Most of the naming opportunities have gone to private people, not companies.

There are naming privileges in more affordable price ranges.

For a mere $25,000 apiece, people can have the name of their family or business emblazoned on one of 50 Hollywoodesque stars to be inlaid in sidewalks outside the theater.

All donors of $10,000 or more will be named in a special Founder’s Gallery display.

Betsy Godlewski, development director for the Fox Theater organization, said many of the rooms may bear a small, tasteful plaque identifying the person or business that paid enough for the naming rights.

Other items, such as artwork or architectural features, won’t be altered as restoration and conservation experts painstakingly remove paint and refurbish now-missing features.

Many of the naming rights will be revealed within the next several weeks to coincide with the release of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra’s season series.

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